Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Because he existed. (Day 235,Year 2)

Somehow, I've found myself working on a piece about sibling grief for work. I didn't give the piece much thought when it was assigned. I write about childhood cancer and unfortunately, grief is a part of that. I know Kelly, a wonderful child life specialist from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia who helps families navigate grief (she happens to be our neighbor's best friend). I had a couple families who have experienced a loss lined up to speak to me. And, well, it seemed like an easy, peasy task. 

I somehow forgot that I am a grieving sibling. 

It's ridiculous, right? I think of my brother several times a day. I rub my thumb on the tattoo I got in his memory more times than I am aware. But, I haven't thought about the grief of his death lately; just of him.  It is not that the grief is gone; it is more like I tucked it away with my Easter decorations. 

Of course, it's hard to avoid the subject you are writing about. 

One thing that stood out to me in my interview this morning was Kelly's mention of checking in with children as the grow and develop because how they process grief might change. Even though I am not a child, I feel this all in myself--especially with the anniversary of David's accident and death coming up. I am totally fine now; but September will bring other feelings. I can guess at what those feeling will be based on the Septembers of the past. However, the truth of grief is that it is a shape shifter, without logic. I don't know how I will feel until I feel it. 

Which is why talking about the person you lost--both the positive memories and the sorrow of them missing--is so important. 

Lately, I've been thinking about how my kids would be with my brother now. The three of them are so tight--even in their constant and cut throat fighting, their loyalty to one another is fierce. I like to think that their loyalty to my brother would be the same and that sometimes, I feel him laughing, in that big, loud, goofy way that he laughed, at my kids and their shenanigans. I won't ever know what he'd be to them as they grow up; at least not exactly. But, I do know that while this loss was so great for our family, it is something we've shared. We experience it in our own ways; but still we do our best to also grieve together. 

I miss my brother. I am forever grateful that I got to experience sisterhood--even though it was short--because he existed. 


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